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Temeraire - Naomi Novik

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Naomi Novik / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2007-08-06 by Voyager

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    6 Reviews
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      03.06.2010 20:37
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      Really lovable characters pull you right into this delightful tale of triumph over adversity

      My boyfriend bought me this book to keep me entertained while he met his financial advisor and when I first looked at it, I can't say I was thrilled. I'm really not into fantasy novels at all and tend to prefer classic fiction. However, having nothing better to do, I did get started with this book and boy am I glad I did. I was sucked into the story from the first chapter and finished the book in record time.

      The plot is individual and captivating and the characters delightful. You can't help but care for them and their fate. My only complaint would be that it isn't long enough but the fact that there are sequels nullifies even that. A truly heartwarming tale with more than a smattering of informative, accurate history mixed in with the dragons! I truly enjoyed this book and am getting through the third book in the series as we speak.

      I can't believe that this was a debut novel. The style of writing would be a credit to even the most acclaimed author. Naomi Novik should be proud of this.

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      27.07.2009 11:55
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      Fresh, funny and completely original; a must read for any fantasy fan.

      This is a book I've had on my shelf for a while, and only recently got around to reading. After finally picking it up, I finished it in three days.

      The concept is a fresh one in fantasy; an alternative history that has dragons fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. I must say I enjoyed it immensely. The characters are instantly believable, and the dragons especially so. Temeraire is inquisitive and intelligent right out of the egg, and he is instantly lovable.

      Sam for the other dragons; every time there is an aerial battle my heart was in my mouth and I was praying that each of the dragons I had come to love would be alright. I think the dragon characters are Naomi Novik's triumph with this book; to make mythical creatures feel so real is no small feat. And this is her debut novel too, not that I could tell as I read it.

      This is a funny, touching original book, which which will surprise you, often in ways you won't expect. Personally, I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

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        06.03.2009 13:41
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        Fantasy that you wish were reality

        I recently read a very good review on a book, and it sounded like the kind of story I would enjoy, so I decided to spend some of my vouchers on it, and I wasn't disappointed. Temeraire by Naomi Novik, is one of the most charming books I have read in a long time.

        The Author.

        Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, and says she was raised on Polish fairy tales and Tolkein. She studied English literature at Brown University and did Graduate work in computer science at Columbia University. She has also worked in design and development computer games. She won many awards for Temeraire, also known as His Majesty's Dragon, which was her first novel. More information about her can be found at her website. www.temeraire.org/index.cgi

        The background

        The novel is set during the Napoleonic era, and is a historical fantasy. Genuine historical characters such as Napoleon and Nelson are mentioned, but the world is very different from our own, in that they have intelligent speaking dragons, as an airborne fighting corps. There are many species of dragons, with many different abilities, and they are used in combat with the enemy. Dragons are known and prized around the world but the aviators which are their handlers, are not so well respected amongst the other services. The handlers are introduced to the Dragons as they hatch, and stay with them for the rest of their lives, sacrificing all hope of a 'normal' family life.

        The story

        Captain William Laurence ran away to sea when he was a boy, and has worked his way through the ranks, to make Captain of the ship Reliant. Our story opens when Captain Lawrence has just taken a French ship in battle, and is accepting the surrender of the French Captain. Lawrence was surprised that the French ship outgunned and much smaller than the English ship fought so fiercely to keep from being captured, but all become cleared when the crew find a large dragon egg being transported in the hold. This is a rare prize indeed, and the crew know they must care for the creature to the best of their ability, as the aerial corps is in dire need of new dragons.

        They recognise that the dragon is ready to hatch, and so crew draw lots, as to who should be presented to the hatchling, as his handler, but when the momentous hatching occurs, the dragon himself has other ideas, and chooses Laurence, and will have nothing to do with anyone else. Captain Laurence recognises his duty, and hands his ship over to the next in command, and takes on the position of the dragon's handler. Laurence feels the life he had planned out, with a young lady back home with whom he had an 'understanding' has slipped away from him, and he knows that his father will disapprove even more than he did about his seafaring career. Will Laurence come to terms with the life changing association with Temeraire? Just what type of dragon is this unusual creature? The story unfolds, as the pair get to know each other, and earn about their duty to each other, and to their country.

        My thoughts
        I loved this book, and found it easy to read, and the characters were very believable. Laurence is pushed into a situation not of his making, and it takes him a while to come to terms with it, but although he isn't happy at first, the development of his
        relationship with the young dragon is a journey which is delightful to read. Temeraire is just charming, and is portrayed with the innocence of youth and yet with an outstanding intelligence and a thirst for knowledge. He too grows and develops as a character throughout the book, as his understanding grows.

        I also loved the amount of detail in the book, the many types of dragons that the author mentions, describing their appearance and their abilities. At the end of the book, there are extracts from various works on dragons, which I thought was a lovely touch, making the story all the more believable.

        The only aspect which I found difficult to come to terms with was that anyone, of whichever nation would want these magnificent creatures to fight, so that they could get injured, and sometimes even die in battle, although that might have something to do with the fact that I am a pacifist at heart, and hate the thought of war in any form.

        I enjoyed the way the author wove her fantasy around historical characters and facts, and again this added to the credibility of the book. I also enjoyed the interesting twist towards the end, which paves the way for further stories about this delightful dragon. There are more books in the series, and so I shall be looking forward to spending more of my dooyoo vouchers, to get these too.

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          24.02.2009 12:15

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          Highly recommended adventurous, humourous, fantastical, historical read!

          This is just the first book, there are now 5! Highly recommend each and every one of them. Fantastically written, great characterization, individual and very original idea. The books are a great mix of historical content and fantasy, a combination which sounds as though it shouldn't work- Napoleon and dragons? But wow, Novik has really pulled this off. The story is based around a naval captain who becomes forever linked in comraderie with a dragon, Temeraire who hatched from an egg won from a french ship. The novel is brim-filled with action, battle and adventure, but is perfectly balanced with humour and comedy. The Napoleonic Britian that Novik creates is brilliantly atmospheric, even if the underlying adventure is one of pure fantasy. Much of the events are historically accurate or at least partly, and Noviks attention to detail demands praise. And this is all Book 1!! The following books are equally worth reading, book 2 is a little slow, book 3 is seriously gripping and I couldn't put it down. Definitely recommended.

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          25.01.2009 12:43
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          Historical fantasy at its best...

          The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar was followed by the publication of several books set in the Napoleonic Wars. Among these Naomi Novik's debut novel stands out for its striking originality, as well as for being a captivating and thoroughly enjoyable novel.

          Fans of historical fiction should be warned though, this is not quite your average Napoleonic novel. It is what I would call historical fantasy because (and please don't be put off by this!) it features dragons. I know, it sounds awful, but bear with me - it really is a well written and very entertaining read...

          Laurence, Captain of the British ship, the 'Reliant', is surprised at the ferocity of the resistance his crew meets when they engage in battle with the heavily outmatched French frigate 'Amite'. An easy victory leaves them in possession of the vessel and exploration of the captured ship soon reveals what the French crew were defending so fiercely - a rare and precious dragon egg.

          The British aviation force is weak and a dragon is a rare prize for to Laurence to carry home. But he is now faced with a difficult choice. The egg is close to hatching and in order to tame the dragonet one of the crew will be required to sacrifice everything he has ever worked towards, in the line of duty.

          A compelling and original historical fantasy adventure, all I can say is, give it a try - it really is very enjoyable stuff!

          (This review has also been posted on Waterstones.com, where I also post occasionally)

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            21.09.2008 22:00
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            Great fun to read, especially if you have a soft spot for dragons!

            This is the first in the a series of novels by Naomi Novik and indeed her first novel, and what a promising start.

            <B>Plot Outline</B>

            The book is set during the Napoleonic war. My history is not good (sorry Mr Bonner) but I'm guessing it is not exactly an accurate account of the wars!

            It starts when naval captain William Laurence's ship takes a French ship thereby securing itself a dragon egg. The dragon hatches soon after and takes a liking to Laurence. In the line of duty Laurence is forced to abandon his known and accepted life in the Navy for a life as a social outcast in the Aerial Corps. The dragon, Temeraire, is very intelligent and quickly becomes a worthwhile and much loved companion. His size and rare breed surely help to install some pride in Laurence about handling such a beast.

            Once on land Temeraire and Laurence go to Scotland to begin training in aerial combat. Laurence finds himself having to prove himself as a worthy Aerial Corps Captain and struggles to get along with the other captains due to his own prejudices and theirs.

            It is not too long before he and Temeraire are involved in a great battle with the French dragons, the result of which is the end of the book although no the last we will see of these characters.

            <B>Main Characters</B>

            <I>Captain William Laurence</I>, known throughout much of the book as merely "Laurence" although as "Will" during scenes with his family, has spent all his life in the Navy. He comes from an upper class family and socialises almost exclusively in these circles. He has grown up to view the Aerial Corps with some disdain, a view common to the upper classes and Navy alike due to the lower classes of the riders and their usual dishevelled appearance. During the book we see Laurence struggle to fit into a life so different from what he is used to and though he never loses some of his Navy habits, by the end he is so much a part of the Aerial Corps that he finds it hard to get along with his old Navy comrades and family circle.

            <I>Temeraire</I>, the dragon, is really the other main character in this book. Avery intelligent and rare dragon, Temeraire is definitely a character in his own right and not just Laurence's beast. Indeed it was Temeraire who chose Laurence as his handler soon after he hatched. Temeraire has a passion for jewellry and books which Laurence indulges often. He likes to learn about battles, science and mathematics among other things. He struggles, however, with Laurence's explanations of human laws and the concept of duty but the latter, at least, becomes clear during battle.

            There are many other characters in this novel from Naval officers to Laurence's family to Aerial Corps officers and ground and air crews. I will not describe any of these in detail as none are really more important than any other and it is Laurence's reactions and relationships to this myriad of characters that is key to the book.

            <B>Price</B> £5.99 from Amazon

            I really enjoyed this book and found myself disappointed every time my train arrived at the station and I had to stop reading. I will be reading the second book in the series as soon as I can so expect the review shortly.

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